Taraka, aka: Tārakā, Tāraka; 16 Definition(s)


Taraka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


Taraka in Purana glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tāraka (तारक) is the name of a gaṇa (attendant of Śiva), mentioned in the Skandapurāṇa 4.2.53. In this chapter, Śiva (Giriśa) summons his attendants (gaṇas) and ask them to venture towards the city Vārāṇasī (Kāśī) in order to find out what the yoginīs, the sun-god, Vidhi (Brahmā) were doing there.

While the gaṇas such as Tāraka were staying at Kāśī, they were desirous but unable of finding a weakness in king Divodaśa who was ruling there. Kāśī is described as a fascinating place beyond the range of Giriśa’s vision, and as a place where yoginīs become ayoginīs, after having come in contact with it. Kāśī is described as having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

The Skandapurāṇa narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is the largest Mahāpurāṇa composed of over 81,000 metrical verses, with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

1) Tāraka (तारक).—(TĀRAKĀSURA) I. An asura chief (demon). This demon even while he was very young did penance to propitiate Śiva and got a boon to the effect that none other than a son born to Śiva should be able to kill him. He became arrogant with the power of this boon and soon became a terror to the world. Then to kill Tārakāsura Subrahmaṇya was born as the son of Śiva. In the great battle between the devas and the asuras Tāraka was killed by Subrahmaṇya.

Tārakāsura was the father of Tārākṣa, Kamalākṣa and Vidyunmālika. (See under Subrahmaṇya). (Śloka 5, Chapter 33, Karṇa Parva).

2) Tāraka (तारक).—Śiva Purāṇa mentions about a Tāraka, son of the minister of Bhadrasena, a King of Kashmir. This Tāraka was the rebirth of a he-fowl. Bhadrasena had a son named Sudharmā. He was the rebirth of a monkey. There is a story regarding how this fowl and the monkey came to be born in Kashmir as above.

2) Once in the village of Nanda there was a prostitute named Mahānandā. Though she was a great devotee of Śiva she was living the life of a prostitute for her livelihood. She was having a monkey and a he-fowl as pets. She would adorn the necks of her pets with the rudrākṣa necklace (rosary) made of berry beads favourite of Śiva and when she sang songs in praise of Śiva those pets danced to the tune.

2) One day a Vaiśya came there. He had a diamond Śiva liṅga with him. Mahānandā felt a great fancy for that and so promised the Vaiśya that if he gave her the diamond liṅga she would remain a faithful wife to him for three days. The Vaiśya agreed and the diamond liṅga was kept in a very secure place That night when both the Vaiśya and Mahānandā were sleeping tired after a hectic amorous sport, the house got fire and the diamond was burst into pieces. The Vaiśya greatly griefstricken by the loss of the diamond, jumped into the fire and committed suicide. Mahānandā faithful to the promise that she would remain his wife for three days started to jump into the fire and abandon her life. At once Śiva appeared before her in person and said thus: "Oh, Mahānandā, do not commit suicide. I came to you disguised as a Vaiśya to test your devotion. You can now ask of me any boon."

2) With tears of joy running down her cheeks she said she wanted to live with Śiva. So Śiva carried her soul to Kailāsa. Not only that, Śiva blessed the fowl and monkey and said they would be born as devotees of Śiva in their next birth and attain mokṣa at the end of their life on earth. Accordingly the monkey and the fowl were born in Kashmir as Sudharmā and Tāraka.

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Tāraka (तारक).—An Asura; took part in a Devāsura battle between Bali and Indra.1 Fought with Guha in a Devāsura war.2 Lust after more territory.3 Escaped to the ocean and gave trouble by coming out often.4 Slain by Nandin.5 City in the third tala named after him.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 10. 21.
  • 2) Ib. VIII. 10. 28; Matsya-purāṇa 61. 38.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 3. 11.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 61. 4; 129. 5; 131. 22; 136. 34 and 67.
  • 5) Matsya-purāṇa 138. 43-4.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 20. 26.

1b) A son of Danu,1 and a friend of Bhaṇḍa.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 6. 7; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 19; Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 26; 68. 7; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 21. 5.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 30. 39.

1c) From Tāraṇa or that which takes good men across to next world.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 128. 34 and 56.

1d) A son of Vajrānga and Varāngī who troubled the Devas and destined to be killed by a baby of seven days; relieved his mother (Tāraka) from sorrows and hence the name; ety. was crowned king of the Asura world; did penance at the Pāriyātra cave when Brahmā granted his wish to be killed by a lad of seven days. All Lokapālas served him. He wanted to vanquish Hari and set out with Grasana as commander. The flag of makara was hoisted. Indra's report to Bṛhaspati.1 The war in which he was killed by Kumāra.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa Chh. 146-149; 160. 25-6; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 11. 7.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 49; IV. 30. 103; Vāyu-purāṇa 72. 47.

1e) Of Kauśika gotra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 98.

2) Tārakā (तारका).—Sunītī, the mother of Dhruva, known as.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 12. 94.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vedanta (school of philosophy)

Tāraka (तारक) refers to Brahman according to the Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa-upaniṣad.—In order to cross the ocean of saṃsāra where sleep and fear are the serpents, injury, etc., are the waves, tṛṣṇā (thirst) is the whirlpool, and wife is the mire, one should adhere to the subtle path and overstepping tattva and other guṇas should look out for Tāraka. Tāraka is Brahman which being in the middle of the two eyebrows, is of the nature of the spiritual effulgence of Saccidānanda. The (spiritual) seeing through the three lakṣyas (or the three kinds of introvision) is the means to It (Brahman).

Source: archive.org: Mandala-brahmana Upanishad of Shukla-Yajurveda
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Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

1) Tārakā (तारका) is the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Niśā in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

2) Tāraka (तारक) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (eg., tāraka) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Tāraka (तारक) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.24.25) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Tāraka) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Tārakā (तारका) is another name for Indravāruṇī, a medicinal plant identified with Citrullus colocynthis (colocynth, bitter apple or desert gourd) from the Cucurbitaceae or “gourd family” of flowering plants, according to verse 3.70-72 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The third chapter (guḍūcyādi-varga) of this book contains climbers and creepers (vīrudh). Together with the names Tārakā and Indravāruṇī, there are a total of twenty-nine Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Tārakā (तारका) is found several times in the Atharvaveda denoting a star. The masculine form Tāraka occurs in the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Taraka was an Asura, the son of Vajranaga and Varangi. His father had conquered and humiliated Indra, only sparing the life of the king of the Gods when Brahma and Kashyapa intervened. Indra had his revenge when Vajranaga went away for a thousand year penance. He tormented Varangi by various means. When Vajranaga returned, he was very angry and prayed to Lord Brahma. The Lord blessed him with a son who could defeat Indra and who would be the scrouge of the Devas. Varangi bore the child in her womb for a thousand years and the demon Taraka was born.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Tāraka (तारक): A demon slain by Kumara, the first son of Shiva.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

1) Tāraka (तारक) refers to a class of piśāca deities according to the Digambara tradition of Jainism, while Śvetāmbara does not recognize this class. The piśācas refer to a category of vyantaras gods which represents one of the four classes of celestial beings (devas).

The deities such as the Tārakas are defined in ancient Jain cosmological texts such as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapaṇṇati by Yativṛṣabha (5th century) in the Digambara tradition.

2) Tāraka (तारक) is the name of the second Prativāsudeva according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Jain legends describe nine such Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes) usually appearing as powerful but evil antagonists instigating Vāsudeva by subjugating large portions of Bharata-land. As such, they are closely related with the twin brothers known as the Vāsudevas (“violent heroes”) and the Baladevas (“gentle heroes”).

The Prativāsudevas (such as Tāraka) fight against the twin-heroes with their cakra-weapon but at the final moment are killed by the Vāsudevas. Their stories are narrated in the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Taraka in Pali glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

tārakā : (f.) a star.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Tārakā, (f.) (Sk. tārakā) 1. a star, a planet: osadhī viya tārakā like the morning-star (Venus) Vv 92=Pv. II, 110;— J. I, 108; tāraka-rūpa the light (or sparkling) of the stars D. III, 85, 90; S. III, 156=It. 19; S. V, 44; VvA. 79; Dhs. 617.—2. fig. sparkling, glitter, twinkle; akkhi° the pupil of the eye M. I, 80; udaka° sparkling of the water ibid. (Page 299)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

taraka (तरक).—m f A stout rafter or pole (as for the corners of a roof, for the sides of a flight of stairs, for a ladder, for the dhāraṇa or upholding post of a house &c.): also a stout piece of timber or wood (used as a stanchion, or short supporting post to a tree &c.)

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tāraka (तारक).—f A flower-tree, Alpinia Allughas. Grah.

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tāraka (तारक).—a (S) That causes to pass over or through; viz. a deliverer, saviour, preserver.

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tāraka (तारक).—m S (Because floats or rafts are upborne and wafted by gourds.) A gourd.

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tārakā (तारका).—f (S) A star. 2 The pupil of the eye. 3 A term of anger for a mischievous or troublesome little girl. (Said to be the proper name of the wife of some legendary evil spirit.)

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tārakā (तारका) [or खा, khā].—f pl (tārā f pl of tāra Wires.) A vulgar allusive term for Hair of the pubes. tā0 samajaṇēṃ-mōjaṇēṃ-mānaṇēṃ-jāṇaṇēṃ-lēkhaṇēṃ To esteem as vile or mean (flocci æstimare, vili pendere &c.)

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

taraka (तरक).—m f A stout rafter or pole.

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tāraka (तारक).—a A deliverer.

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tārakā (तारका).—f A star.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Tāraka (तारक).—Name of a demon killed by Kārtikeya. [He was the son of Vajrāṅga and Varāṅgī. He propitiated the god Brahmadeva by means of his penance on the Pāriyātra mountain, and asked as a boon that he should not be killed by any one except a child seven days old. On the strength of this boon be began to oppress the gods who were obliged to go to Brahmā and ask his assistance in the destruction of the demon (see Ku.2). But they were told that the offspring of Śiva could alone vanquish him. Afterwards Kārtikeya was born, and he slew the demon on the seventh day of his birth].

Derivable forms: tārakaḥ (तारकः).

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Tārakā (तारका).—

1) A star; यर्ह्येवाजनजन्मर्क्षं शान्तर्क्षग्रहतारकम् (yarhyevājanajanmarkṣaṃ śāntarkṣagrahatārakam) Bhāg. 1.3.1.

2) A meteor, falling star.

3) The pupil of the eye; संदधे दृशमुदग्रतारकाम् (saṃdadhe dṛśamudagratārakām) R.11.69; Ch. P.5; Bh. 1.11.

4) Name of the wife of Bṛhaspati; सुरासुरविनाशोऽ भूत्समरस्तारकामयः (surāsuravināśo' bhūtsamarastārakāmayaḥ) Bhāg.9.14.7.

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Tāraka (तारक).—a. (-rikā f.) [तॄ-णिच् ण्वुल् (tṝ-ṇic ṇvul)]

1) Carrying over.

2) Protecting, preserving, rescuing.

3) Helping another through a difficulty.

-kaḥ 1 A pilot, helmsman.

2) A deliverer, saviour.

3) Name of Śiva.

-kaḥ, -kam A boat, raft.

-kam (also f.)

1) The pupil of the eye; संदधे दृशमुदग्रतारकाम् (saṃdadhe dṛśamudagratārakām) R.11.69.

2) The eye.

3) A star; शान्तर्क्ष- ग्रहतारकम् (śāntarkṣa- grahatārakam) Bhāg.1.3.1; see तारका (tārakā).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Tārakāri (तारकारि).—m. an epithet of Kārtikeya; जेयस्तारकसूदनो युधि करक्रीडत्कुठारस्य च (jeyast...
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